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Maximize your LED display's potential

Selecting the right LED display is crucial in maximizing your display's potential. Follow the steps below to determine the display that's right for your application.


Is it an indoor or an outdoor application?

LED displays are specifically designed for either indoor or outdoor use. Two main factors determine whether a display can be used indoors or outdoors. The first factor is weather durability Outdoor displays are designed to work in extreme weather conditions while indoor displays are not built to stand up to the same environmental factors. Second, outdoor displays use different LED’s than indoor displays. The LEDs used for outdoor displays are brighter to account for the varying lighting conditions. Indoor displays do not have the same concerns and subsequently are not as bright.


Your communication needs may factor into your decision of which display is right for your application. Evaluate how you plan to use the sign by asking yourself questions like:

  • Is colour needed in the messages or is monochrome sufficient?

  • Will the display show graphics as well as text?

  • Will the display show video images?

  • How many lines of copy will you want displayed at one time?

  • What type of messages will be communicated to the intended audience?

The answers to these questions will help you make your choice. They also reflect decisions that can increase or decrease the cost of your LED display. For example, a full colour display is more expensive than a monochrome display.

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Where will the viewing audience be?

The distance between your sign and its viewers is the key factor in determining the best LED sign for your application. Consider two things about why it is crucial to choose a display based on where it will be located in relations to its audience. First, the distance from the viewer to the display will affect the minimum and maximum viewing distances. Second, the viewing distance also impacts the resolution or pitch. 


The distance from the sign to the viewers factors into determining the actual physical size of the sign. The farther the viewer is from the sign, the larger the letters need to be in order to be readable. Large letters can mean a larger sign. The general rule of thumb in determining the appropriate size for your sign is you need 1 inch for every 50 feet of viewing distance. For example, if you were traveling 60 MPH on a freeway, and the sign is 500 feet away at a gas station, the text letters would need to be at least 10 inches tall to be legible. Likewise, if you are standing 100 feet away from a sign at street level, the letters only need to be 2 inches tall to be legible.


Longer distances require less resolution, and shorter distances require higher. Resolution, also known as pitch, plays a key role in the cost of your sign. The higher the resolution, the more expensive the sign. Pitch is the distance (usually in millimeters) between pixels. Pitch is always measured from the center of one diode to the center of another diode. The smaller the pitch number, the higher the resolution quality. Larger pitch numbers indicate a lower resolution. A pixel can be one single diode or a pixel can consist of a cluster of diode.

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Viewing Time

Also to be considered, is your target audience moving? This introduces a viewing time element. The size of characters, the viewing angle of the display, and the speed of the target audience all translate into one important element - “TIME” have you allowed your target audience to read and comprehend your message?

Experience has shown that it requires an average of 5 seconds of time to read and comprehend ten characters of text. The following chart shows the maximum viewing time a potential target audience would have to view a message based on their speed of travel and the size of the characters used. Take notice of the shaded areas for the optimal viewing time based on the number of characters to be read by the target audience.


Prior to purchasing your LED sign, consider the following:

  • Location

  • Content

  • Distance

  • Viewing Time

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